London-based newspaper the Guardian sure seems to think so. The piece, featured in today's issue, was mostly a screed against the painfully-overexposed videoboard over the field, and partly a treatise on the future of sports. A worthy topic indeed. But it does come off slightly bitter, understandable, considering that Cowboys Stadium makes Wembley look like a soiled cardboard box behind Denny's. (Okay, maybe it's not that bad.)
"If you want to know where sport is headed, tune in to the NFL late on Sunday night when the Dallas Cowboys play their first home game of the season at their $1.5bn (£900m) new stadium. I don't tell you this out of a love for American football or because I've fallen prey to the recent fetish for ever-costlier concrete cathedrals. This is more a public service announcement: because there, mid-stadium, you will see an incontrovertible sign of the apocalypse, powerful enough to convince you Armageddon is only a twitchy finger away."
I can only assume that this destination, "where sport is headed," is in reference to our version of football. And frankly, I think it's about time. Soccer has never caught on in America for a reason: Because football is better, and thoroughly more entertaining. Get with the times. Furthermore, "Armageddon is only a twitchy finger away?"Old news, I say, and everyone's known this since Nena released "99 Luft Balloons" in 1983.
"What you're looking for, when you do tune in, is… well, you won't be able to miss it. It's called the Jerrytron and it's the largest video screen in the world. Named after the Cowboys' owner, Jerry Jones, – appropriate, since subtlety is clearly not this man's modus operandi – the electronic scoreboard stretches almost the entire length of the pitch, a 180ft x 72ft beacon of high definition, hanging directly above the action which it is instantaneously transmitting."
Okay, Jerry's about as subtle as a cockney accent. But it's not as though he campaigned to have the board named after him; Jerry's self-involved enough. He doesn't need any false accusations of self-aggrandization, when there are so many valid ones out there to choose from.
"The Jerrytron has already caused controversy. At the stadium's inauguration, a pre-season match against the Tennessee Titans, the opposition kicker AJ Trapasso upset the proud owner by punting a ball straight into the screen, which hangs 90ft up. "When we walked into the stadium and looked at it, we said, 'That is so hittable'," Trapasso said, presumably using the word 'hittable' as it applies to Cristiano Ronaldo or Fearne Cotton. 'It's going to get peppered all season.''
Wow, the R.M.S. Hackneyed Story must've just made port in Liverpool this morning, bearing news of a monstrous television in the colonies hit by world renowned "kicker" AJ Trapasso. Of course, Trapasso is now jobless, and this is now a non-story. Hey, have y'all heard of Octomom, yet?
"In other words, stadium screens aren't only sucking your gaze away from the pitch to show you a slightly less satisfying version of what you could be watching with your own eyes. They're actually beaming a sanitised version of play into your brain, denying that you saw what your senses and instincts are telling you. And these video boards are in the control of the home team, which gives a nice Orwellian feel to the whole enterprise. Like I said: Armageddon, people."
Here, the writer is referring to video operators' ability to edit replays and/or leave them out all together. Fair point, but this is standard practice in the NBA more than in the NFL. In fact, if we're pinning blame for Armageddon on sporting bigwigs, the safe bet is on the Golem of American sports, David Stern.
Jerry Jones comes in at a benign second.